Private pilot course cost

Hello everyone,

I have started my private pilot course at fairfield airport, new jersey. The total cost per lesson rounds out to about $280-$300 (Rental, Fuel, pre/post flight). Just wanted to know if my fairly charged or not. I came from India to get my licence and have no credit score whatsoever to get loans at reasonable rates, hence decided to go for Pay per class route. I am planning to get my commercial later on thru ATP.

I know the cost varies from state to state and county to county, but having a rough idea would be of great help.

thank you pilots.


First we need more info? What kind of plane are you training in? If it’s a basic 152, 172 or Cherokee than yes you’re paying to much. If it’s a Cirrus or other more advanced plane with glass etc than maybe not? Flying in the North East is definitely some of the most expensive in the country but if you’re not sure if you’re getting a fair deal best bet is shop around.


I agree. I would say $250 per lesson is more reasonable. I depends on the
aircraft though.


Thank you for the prompt reply.

Yes, I am getting trained in a C172P, and have also shop around a bit, prices are more or less the same. It is not possible for me right now to go somewhere else but to stay in NJ.

My plan is to get my PPL and may be CFI from here, and then move to may be Daytona to carry on with my ATPL, meanwhile building up some credit for a loan. Any word of advice here? I am shooting for Airline pilot someday, and am 23 years old, holding a bachelors degree in Civil Engineering ( India).

Any wise words will be helpful.


its a C172P, they charge me a flat rate with no fuel surcharge, while the other school at the same place charges fuel surcharge, making the total around $220. My question is, how much fluctuations this fuel surcharge can cause in my actual payable amount… and also how frequently?

Also, what are the best ways to evaluate any flying school. Google reviews got me to the costlier one, but the other one is a Cessna center affiliated (sorry don’t remember exact denotation).

Thank you for your time.


I have to admit, I am a bit confused as to your plan for getting your licenses. Across your various posts, you have mentioned that you are going to get your commercial at ATP, but your CFI in New Jersey and then back to Florida to get your ATPL In there you do not mention your instrument training at all, plus I don’t see why you would go to Florida, then back to Jersey, then back to Florida. Can you help clarify this?

By the way, ATP will not train you for just your commercial license, they offer a complete program, starting from either zero hours or from Private.

As for what you should look for in a school, check out this link:

It sounds to me like you are paying an incredibly high price for flight training, but you are living in one of the most expensive states in the country with the highest tax structure of any state, so I suppose it is par for the course. I personally would give the cheaper school a very serious look, I am all about saving money.


I was also going to share that link that Chris gave you, and I can’t give
you an answer about your question about fuel fluctuations. Fuel prices
fluctuate with the market. I’m not even going to try to sound like I know
what I’m talking about. I got a “C” in economics :laughing:


Apologies for being unclear about my intentions. I have logged about 10 hours of flying in a C172P w/ an instructor till now. So let me try and explain you my course of action-

  • Planning to get my Private and Instrument in Jersey.
  • Meanwhile, if I can gather enough funds for my training and housing, I might go to the south where the training could be cheaper. ( As of now, I have no housing or major expenses in Jersey, hence decided to stay here for a while).
  • Get my Commercial, ME, CFI, CFII and ATP in Florida, again if possible financially. If not, get to the CFII ( includes commercial, ME, CFI) in Jersey and may be instruct for a while here, then go for my ATP.

I want to have my ATP with good academies having connections with the airlines.

Also, looking for good Pilot training Programs to reduce the costs and more job opportunities.

Again, apologies for being naive, and would love your advice on this.




My advice, quite honestly, is to find a school that offers a fast track program. Trying to tie everything together piece-by-piece like you are doing is a recipe for making it take way too long and cost too much. However, I understand that by not having credit, you cannot apply for loans for the larger programs, like ATP. I suppose my recommendation would just be to continue what you are doing. i wouldn’t fall for the flight school that has shiny new airplanes, I would be looking for the one that offers the best value and has the best instructors.